Nov 13, 2010

Social Media

Social Media back in the head lines!

Though it is the current "IN" thing to push boundaries in and will be the topic of debate for more years to come. Its another instance of some one posted something they shouldn't have and then got in trouble. Now some one's crying because they have to face consequences for their actions! I personally find it ridiculous that people use Social Media as a public medium for complaining....that's what phone calls are still used for!!  

For those who are interested about what on earth I'm talking about,here are the post from the Journal of EMS website pertaining to our topic.The links: Think before you post,  Feds rule EMT facebook firing Illegal

But for all those to lazy to read it all let me break it down for you.

An Ambulance Agency in Connecticut (AMR to be specific) has allegedly fired an employee "wrongfully" after said employee posted disparaging remarks about her Supervisor on a social media outlet (Facebook) along with over other complaints about her work.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that the firing to be wrongful and illegal. Now there seems to be some discrepancy over why it was considered illegal. From what I took from it was that due to AMR being a Unionized work force, there has to be a Union representative for all disciplinary hearings and the termination decisions. Which seems to be where AMR is in the wrong here, there was no disciplinary hearing and thus no representative present before termination. The talk over the social media aspect is gaining all the attention and focus about it being a ground breaking decision. The NLRB does protect the rights of employees, and this protection allows for the ability to talk to fellow coworkers about your concerns and gripes towards management both in and out of work. Where it is less clear is the social media outlet, does it count for a protected form of complaining? I guess NLRB thinks yes, but I pose a few questions to consider.

1. Was the said employees Facebook privacy setting set to public or private? This is important to know because if it was more than "friends" that she was venting to then it could stain the reputation of the company.

2. What was said about the supervisor, and was slanderous? Now you don't have to like your supervisors, nor do you have to agree with or like their appointment to the position. But you can not speak or publish verbally abusive statements effecting ones reputation. Obviously if it was slanderous then the NLRB would not cover their freedom of speech in this aspect.

Though after I learned of what was reportedly said I see no reason not to fire the said employee.

The NY Times reported that the posting to Facebook was: "Love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor"—17 is the company lingo for a psychiatric patient  

Now I'm no lawyer type, and never passed the Bar exam, but this seems to be slanderous. On a possible public forum to call your supervisor a Psychiatric patient, granted the lingo "17" may not be world wide known as this, but it spreads a poor reputation on the supervisor and company, thus is slanderous.

Definition of Slander: a false,malicious statement (spoken or published), especially one which is injurious to a person's reputation. I see no way in which it doesn't fit the definition.

I am sure this is not the last we will hear about AMR or their employee, and there will be some fall out from this situation. I'm not sure that this will be ground breaking by any means for the realm of social media and the work place.  What I can assure you is that this will happen again and when it does some Blogger will shed light on the situation....and take a few fun jabs at the problem.

By the way all complaints can be made to the Ambulance Junkie's Blog Fan page on Facebook. Cause it seems appropriate! 

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie


  1. Even if the woman's settings was set to "friends", are all her "friends" exclusive to only co-workers? That's really the sticking point, because while speech about the workplace conditions with fellow employees may be protected, with non-employees not so much.

  2. very true Dave, if all her "friends" are strictly of work relation than guess she can say what ever she wants (sorta) but in that likely of instance that she has the 500+ "friends" from high school, college, daycare, people she's met at the mall...ect. Then her rights covered by NLRB are thrown out the window I would think.